Regulations of multiplex genome-edited crops and CRISPR/Cas gene drives

Aftab Ahmad, Ahmad Munir, Nayla Munawar, Sultan Habibullah Khan, Zulqurnain Khan, Bushra Akhtar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The CRISPR/Cas system, a game-changing technology with the potential to answer fundamental questions in all areas of biological sciences, has earned its creators the Nobel Prize in 2020. With transgene-free editing in plants, CRISPR/Cas systems in agriculture have accelerated the development of new crops with improved traits, especially those related to food security. The most intriguing advancement in CRISPR technology is its ability to perform multiplex genome editing, which involves using multiple gRNAs to target a large number of related or unrelated genes. It has revolutionized plant genome editing with the development of powerful new biological applications in molecular farming, plant development, hormone biosynthesis, and metabolic engineering. Applications benefited from the multiplex CRISPR/Cas approaches, including cell recording, genetic circuits, the rewriting of metabolic pathways, and biosensors. However, the success and future of CRISPR technology depend on the development of a universal, globally connected, and scalable regulatory framework for these edited plants. CRISPR-based gene drives are an effective approach to forcing the inheritance of a desired allele through a population. CRISPR-mediated gene drives have been demonstrated in the laboratory, with potential applications in the eradication of vector-borne diseases such as malaria, zika, and dengue, as well as agricultural pests and weeds. However, unintended effects, risks, safety, resistance, and control methods remain the key concerns associated with gene drives. This chapter describes the potential risks associated with CRISPR-edited crops and CRISPR-based drives. In addition, we also highlight the current regulatory status of CRISPR-edited crops in different countries. Finally, we discuss the risks, environmental impact, and regulations of CRISPR-based gene drives.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGlobal Regulatory Outlook for CRISPRized Plants
Number of pages49
ISBN (Electronic)9780443184444
ISBN (Print)9780443184451
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2023


  • CRISPR-edited crops
  • Multiplex genome editing
  • gene drives
  • regulatory status of CRISPR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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